tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC August 18, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT
one week later. what have we learned? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, where's the bounce? a lot has happened in the week since paul ryan joined the romney ticket. conservatives are thrilled. energy is up. money is pouring in, but republicans are also nashing their teeth over ryan's plans for medicare. and the expected poll bounce has been virtually nonexistent. and now we learn that ryan asked for stimulus money for two companies. that's something he's consistently denied but yesterday was forced to con side the bottom point. bottom line is the veep pick
working? also, mitt romney claimed he paid 13% in taxes each of the past five years. democrats say prove it. consider this. you probably make a lot less than romney and paid a lot more than 13% and this fight isn't going away. plus, is it swift boating 2012 style? a former group of navy s.e.a.l.s are trying to deny president obama credit for getting osama bin laden. where have we heard this before? and paul ryan has always been a disciple and a supporter of ayn rand. why is he suddenly running in the other direction? and let me finish tonight can pennsylvania's last chance to hold a fair presidential election. we begin with whether mitt romney's choice of paul ryan is working. ed rendell is now an nbc political analyst. and nia-malika henderson is covering the campaign for "the washington post"." nearly a week after the announcement, what affect has the congressman had on the race. after the choice was announced on saturday, a democratic
operative suggested this narrative and i love it. listen to this. here's my prediction. the cycle of reaction will be exactly the one with palin. the press will say, wow, interesting. democrats, huh? press, he's so dynamic. what a boost of energy. republicans, what a great speech. the base loves it. democrats, uh-oh. republicans, the big m.o. has shifted our way. and the press, he's breathing new life, et cetera. then the democrats, but way there's more. press, hmm. republicans, uh-oh. nia-malika, where are we in that spectrum relative to paul ryan? >> you know, as i think the press were at the hmm phase and republicans are at the uh-oh phase, obviously we've got the speeches that are coming up at the convention a week from now. but yeah, obviously there is more picking over ryan's record than we've seen out of the press lately. these reports about him taking stimulus funds for instance. and a lot of reaction from republicans who had this initial
burst of excitement. you saw certainly from grassroots folks a lot of money pouring into the romney campaign. still there is a sense, i think, from republicans that maybe this boost of energy and this bold pick might not end up being worth it because of all the conversation now that we're having about the stimulus package, about medicare. because this was a campaign, let's face it. the republicans thought they could win just on the economy. what we see now we're talking about medicare. >> governor, i said before this was announced one thing that united conservatives was a desire that paul ryan be the pick. how are each looking at it now? >> first of all, i think it's a little bit too soon to say which way it cuts. i agree with malika, not only has it been a disastrous week, but it's much worse than palin because it came on much faster. the reason it came on much faster, michael, is because the romney campaign was absolutely unprepared to answer the seminole question they should
have known they were going to get. okay, governor. you've said during the primaries that you endorsed the ryan budget and the ryan medicare plan. do you still believe that? and of course you see governor romney backtracking. he hasn't been able to explain where he disagrees with the ryan budget. now recently he says he's for it 100%. two days ago he said there were some disagreements and it was his budget he was going to control. it's a mess. all we're talking about is medicare instead of the economy. all we're talking about is how the romney campaign screwed up again. it's brutal. and the stuff on stimulus, so unprepared. >> i'm going to get to both of those in just a moment. >> okay. >> let me show you some data. what kind of bounce did mitt romney get from naming paul ryan from the ticket? a pretty small one compared to past candidates. now, "the new york times" nate silver said it netted the romney
campaign about a point. going to past tickets, the average was closer to six points. so the net/net of this so far whether it's the medicare conversation, whether it's the stimulus now response seems to be, you know, nothing there that's discernible. >> right. although i think paul ryan will give a very good speech at the convention, because he's a good spinner and he doesn't necessarily cue to the truth. so i think he's going to give an effective speech at the convention. that may change a bit. but it's been a disaster because the one thing the romney campaign wanted to do is keep this on the economy. and again, the lack of preparation. how about congressman ryan. michael, if you'd read my book number one out of my top ten lists of politicians wussiness is when you don't vote for something and then try to take credit for it. and i cited congressman ryan writing that letter to the department of energy. >> relative to stimulus funds. >> right. how could he not have known that?
it's just shocking. >> governor, i'm not so sure that medicare thus far has been a net negative. i mean, it seems to me that the white house is a bit on the defensive. they've got this new campaign commercial as a matter of fact that i want you to show and dissect. today president obama released this ad defending his record. see if it seems defensive. >> now mitt romney's attacking the president on medicare? the nonpartisan aarp says obama care cracks down on medicare fraud, waste, and abuse. and strengthens guaranteed benefits. and the ryan plan? aarp says it would undermine medicare and could lead to higher costs for seniors. and experts say ryan's voucher plan could raise future retiree's costs more than $6,000. get the facts. >> and the ad came days after days of attacks. he was romney yesterday illustrating that point. >> i want to bring as much
clarity as possible, so i prepared a small chart here. my plan presents no change. the plan stays the same. no adjustments, no changes, no savings. the president's plan cuts medicare -- excuse me. well, let's see. i got thatta erase/there we go. by $716 billion. cut. >> nia-malika, it's an awfully complicated issue. who wins or who's winning thus far? >> well, i actually think the republicans are winning this fight. which in some ways, let's face it, these ads they put out, a lot of the political ads are propaganda. i think in this way they have very much won this war. you have democrats on the defensive on of all things medicare. something that they have been the champions of and something that people are more readily identify democrats with than
republicans. you saw republicans lose a race in upstate new york over this issue. they have since been able to reframe it and frame obama as someone who is stealing in medicare. in actuality it's slowing the cost of growth and saving money in the medicare vantage. but you see there that republicans have been very, very smart in getting on the sonnive there around ryan's plan. and in some ways being able to separate mitt romney from paul ryan. who knows if it'll be effective down the line, if they're going to be able to keep this going. but so far so good. we'll see ryan in florida. i think he's going to be with his mom there coming across as somebody who of course why would he want to cut -- end medicare as we know it. he'll be there making that argument. so i think so far i would give the victory to republicans over this week on medicare. >> governor, the other issue you've made reference to. "the boston globe" and other outlets reported that paul ryan trying to steer stimulus money to companies in his home state. ryan had called the stimulus a wasteful spending spree.
on wednesday he was asked about that discrepancy. here's what he said. >> a report came out again today in the ap. it was a repeat of that wall street journal article from a couple of years ago where you had asked for stimulus money for your district. is that accurate? >> i don't recall. i haven't seen this report. so i really can't comment on it. i opposed the stimulus because it doesn't work. it didn't work. >> today congressman conceded he was wrong having wrote, after having these letters called to my attention i checked into them. and they were treated as constituent service and veterans affairs are handled. this is why i didn't recall the letters earlier, but they should have been handled differently and i take full responsible for that. governor, i understand you call him out in your book about wusses. apart from denying it and being held accountable because he was wrong, what's wrong with an elected official who opposes a program, doesn't get his way,
and then on behalf of his constituents tries to bring home all the bacon he can? >> nothing. >> what's wrong with what happened here, michael, is that he lied about it. let me tell you, it is not constituent services when you write there secretary of energy and ask them for money for a program. he signs that letter himself. i guarantee you he reviewed it. i would never send a letter to the secretary of energy of the united states as governor without reading it and approving it myself. he looks like a fraud. and this is the guy who's supposed to be the honest young gun. he looks like a phony. there is nothing wrong. his defense should have been look guys, i was against stimulus. but it passed and if states were going to get money for economic development projects, i wanted wisconsin to get its fair share. that would have been the perfect answer. michael, quickly on what malika said. >> on medicare. >> yeah. i agree the republicans have done good in the short-term. number one, democrats haven't
been forceful enough. number one, congressman ryan kept the same $718 billion cut in medicare in the ryan budget. we should hang that around his neck. and number two, the difference of what the president wants to do. when the president cuts medicare, he's cutting it on the provider's side. most of those cuts were cuts to what the drug companies could make by supplying drugs to medicare. when the republicans make cuts to medicare, they're cutting it on the beneficiary side. we should drive that point home. and i believe we will as time goes on. >> governor rendell, malika, thank you so much for being on "hardball." coming up, mitt romney admits he paid 13% of taxes in the last five years. and he's not releasing more returns. he paid a lower tax rate than most americans. and the fight over his tax returns, not going away. this is "hardball," the place for politics. like a squirrel , you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours.
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i just have to say, given the challenges that america faces, 23 million people out of work, iran about to become nuclear, one out of six americans in poverty, the fascination with taxes i paid i find very small-minded compared to the broad issues we face. but i did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years i never paid less than 13%. welcome back to "hardball." in that alleged effort to be candid, mitt romney opened up the issue of his tax returns anew. the obama campaign pounced. the campaign spokeswoman replied we have a simple message for him, prove it. but today campaign manager jim messina sent a mass e-mail with this deal, quote, if the governor will release five years of returns, i commit in turn we
will not criticize him for not releasing more. matt rhodes wasted no time in replying, hey, jim, thanks for the note. it is clear that president obama wants nothing more than to talk about governor romney's tax returns instead of issues that matter like putting americans back to work. will he ever shake the story and do his taxes matter? joan walsh is editor at large and an msnbc political analyst and author of the new book "what's the matter with white people." amon javers is a correspondent. let me begin with you. is this getting traction? do people care he's only releasing two years of tax returns.
>> if you frame it in terms of documents, the voters don't compare about that stuff. what they care about in the gut is this sense somebody's getting away with something you're not getting away. if romney is playing a lower tax rate than other americans, those folks are going to resent that and want to see how this happened. >> this is your strong suit. is he, in fact, paying a lower tax rate than other americans. the semantics of this become awfully important. >> yeah. what we're talking about here is the federal effective tax rate. that's after you take your deductions and everything else. he's saying over the past ten years he paid 13%. most americans, so your median country in 2011 was about $75,000 a year, those folks paid less, about 5.6% in an effective rate. although they paid payroll taxes on top of that. most americans are paying a lower rate than mitt romney paid, but the problem for mitt romney is there are a lot of high income people who earn a lot of money in salary who are paying much higher tax rates than he paid because they are getting their money in salary, not in earnings from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate. so those folks are the folks who
will look at a 13% rate and say boy, i wish i could get to that. >> do we fault mitt romney for whatever the rate he's paying so long as he's paying it lawfully. legally, morally, ethically? if we have a beef over this rate he's paying, isn't it better at the tax code and those responsible for drawing it? >> well, yeah. i think you make a good point. he's probably doing things legally. we haven't seen anything to indicate that he wasn't. but we don't entirely know. and the extent to which he's using these offshore accounts could contribute to this lower tax rate. there are lots of things he could be doing that if the american people new about them, they're not illegal, but they would make you a little bit squeamish. i do have a to say, the last poll i saw said 63% of americans want to see more tax returns. and finally every time he opens his mouth to talk about this, he sounds more and more entitled. i mean, calling those 63% of americans who would like to see more taxes small minded?
and ann romney's tantrum last night? i mean, it's just not -- >> i want to show it. last night on "rock center" ann romney made clear she and mitt will not release more tax returns. here's what she said. >> the more e we release, the more we get attacked. the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. so we have done what's legally required and there's going to be no more tax releases. >> is she not correct as far as she took the argument? the more they release, the more they will be subject to this kind of scrutiny? >> well, sure to the extent that the more we talk about anybody's policy plans or backgrounds, they may get more scrutiny. it's possible they would get less. it's possible, it's possible that -- it's possible that we would see things and it would be the same stuff we saw in the other two years and we would all move on. i doubt it because if that were the case, then i think they would have made these records available to us sooner.
there's got to be something a little bit more offputting than what we've seen so far. >> eamon, how do you see that issue? >> that hits it on the head. you can infer here that's what's going on is the romney campaign made a clear position that the heat they're taking is less than the heat for whatever they would take for what's in the returns that they think would be embarrassing. part of the reason is there are two kinds of rich people in this country. rich people who work for a living and earn a high salary and rich people whose money works for them. that's the camp the romneys are in. so their taxes are very, very low. we have seen the swiss bank account and the ann romney trust and other offshore details. that's just in the stuff they have disclosed. so clearly they know what's in the rest of the documents and they feel that whatever it is would be worse. and ann romney said almost exactly that last night. we're going to continue to get hit and get questioned if we put these things out, so we're not putting them out. >> thank you, appreciate you being here.
mitt romney says he wants to cut funding for pbs. when he heard that oscar the grouch was like, seriously, i already live in a garbage can. how much worse can my life get? which explains why today sesame street was brought to you by the letters o, and bama. >> back to "hardball" and the sideshow. think it's a bad sign if you're in the midst o after heating campaign and you're hearing you're a quote, loose cannon. this might ring a bell. >> the government sets the rules. don't blame banks and don't blame the market place for the mess we're in right now.
i am tired of hearing that crap. you know what? it just pisses me off. too many people don't listen. i need more coffee. >> a signature episode from joe walsh. walsh and tammy duckworth fielded questions from reporters earlier this week. the congressman was asked straight up whether he's too much of a loose cannon to stay in congress. >> am i too much of a loose cannon? look, i went there because i'm scared to death that this country has precious little time to turn this thing around. and that causes me to be more outspoken. i said, and tammy loves to jump on this, all joe walsh does is scream from the mountain top. i consider that to be part of my job. am i too much of a loose cannon? no. i think people appreciate any republican or democrat who finally talks straight to people. >> ask yourself when was the last time you cast a ballot for someone and thought that guy
will really scream from the mountain top? next, rage against the machine unleashes a rage against paul ryan. you may have heard his running mate is a fan of rage against the machine who sings about corporate greed. if you think that's an odd pick for the wealthy, you're not alone. the musician pinned an op ed for rolling stone reads in part, it's amusing because he's the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. i clearly see ryan has a lot of rage in him. a rage against workers, women's rights, gays, the poor, the environment. basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions. morello's response to he likes the sound not the lyrics, i don't like his sound or his
lyrics. that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. lissful pause just before that rich sweetness touches your lips. the delightful discovery, the mid-sweetening realization that you have the house all to yourself. well, almost. the sweet reward, making a delicious choice that's also a smart choice. splenda no-calorie sweetener. with the original sugar-like taste you love and trust. splenda makes the moment yours.